How to Become an Accounting Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become an accounting technician. Research the job description and education requirements, and find out how to start a career in accounting technology. View article »

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Video Transcript

Become an Accounting Technician

Accounting technicians, also referred to as bookkeepers, work in a range of industries, recording financial transactions like expenditures, receipts and invoices. They also update ledgers, create financial statements and ensure financial records are accurate. Longer hours might be required around tax time or at busier times of the year for those who work in the hospitality industry.

Career Requirements

Degree Level None; some postsecondary education may be required
Degree Fields Accounting technology, bookkeeping
Certification Voluntary certification available through the National Bookkeepers Association and the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers
Key Skills Aptitude for math and accounting; attention to detail; confidentiality; knowledge of spreadsheets, databases, project, document management, accounting and financial analysis software like Intuit Quicken and AuditWare; ability to use ledger and receipt books, image scanners, and accounting calculators
Salary $37,250 (2015 median for bookkeeping and accounting clerks)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale.com, O*NET OnLine

No degree is required to become an accounting technician, though postsecondary education may be desirable. An aptitude for math and accounting is required. It is also important for accounting technicians to have an attention to detail for noticing errors and confidentiality for handling sensitive financial data. Other requirements include knowledge of spreadsheets, databases, accounting and financial analysis software (like Intuit Quicken and AuditWare), and project and document management software. They should also have the ability to use ledger and receipt books, image scanners and accounting calculators. Bookkeeping and accounting clerks earned a median annual pay of $37,250 in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Accounting Technician Job Steps

Let's take a look at the steps need to pursue a career as an accounting technician.

Step 1: Earn Postsecondary Education

Some schools offer certificate and associate's degree programs in accounting technology or bookkeeping. While both programs prepare students for employment as accounting technicians, individuals who complete associate's degree programs may be able to transfer their credits to bachelor's level accounting programs. Curricula include courses in accounting principles, tax accounting, business law, payroll management and spreadsheet applications.

While in school, consider a part-time job. Gaining experience in the accounting field can help you stand out amongst other entry-level accounting technicians. During college, you might find a job working as an assistant bookkeeper or auditing clerk for a local business. This will allow you to become familiar with the ins and outs of the industry while earning extra income during school.

Step 2: Complete On-the-Job Training

After obtaining employment, accounting technicians are usually required to complete around six months of on-the-job training. Trainees work under the supervision of experienced accounting professionals, learning basic accounting practices and software programs. Some employers require technicians to complete formal classroom instruction in addition to on-the-job training.

Step 3: Obtain Certification

Accounting technicians have the option of pursing certification through a professional organization, like the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) or the National Bookkeepers Association (NBA). While not required, obtaining certification can demonstrate dedication to the field, as well as enhance employment prospects. To earn the AIPB's Certified Bookkeeper designation, accounting technicians need to have two years of experience and pass an examination. The NBA's Uniform Bookkeeper certification also requires passage of a certifying exam but does require a minimum level of experience.

To summarize, accounting technicians need an aptitude for math and accounting, and they may choose to pursue postsecondary education and voluntary certification in the field.

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